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The Task Ahead

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Highlights from Democratic nominee Barack Obama's acceptance speech from Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois after election results came in Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.Video by APEditor: Jacqueline Refo/washingtonpost.com

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These insiders can judge Obama better than I can, but I think they read him correctly. The expanded Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate may tempt Obama to consider a mirror-image of George W. Bush's strategy of mobilizing his own party on Capitol Hill and simply bulling bills past the minority party.

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But that approach really didn't work for Bush after the first year or two. I think there is much wisdom in a comment that Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts made on "Meet the Press" this week. He said that the difficulty of the challenges facing Washington is such that the aim should not be to pound out narrow partisan victories but to negotiate for "85-vote majorities," endorsed by all but the most extreme liberal or conservative senators.

After the hyper-partisanship of the Bush years, I think there are probably many members of both parties who would welcome the kind of approach that Dodd, LaHood and Kerry advocate.

But it will be up to Obama to signal that this will be his way of doing business, as well. The earlier he does it, the better.

davidbroder@washpost.com


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